All Things Jabu has afforded us many great opportunities over the past two years. Another one that we were presented with was the opportunity to chat to Springbok Pat Cilliers. Dirk Vale sat with the 2011 Currie Cup winner and spoke to him about his time at the Lions, his pending move to the Stormers and all things rugby. The rising star shared his thoughts with Dirk for the readers of All Things Jabu!
Dirk Vale (DV): Firstly, thank you for making time to chat to us here at All Things Jabu. Did coming from a strong rugby school like Michaelhouse help in your sports development?
Pat Cilliers (PC): Yes definitely. I was lucky enough to have a great coach at school and still thank him to this day.
DV: Having had that educational grounding in Durban, was it hard moving from the Sharks to the Lions in 2011?
PC: Toughest decision I have ever made but it was the right one in the end. I was fortunate enought to win a Currie Cup with the Lions and now being selected for the Springboks seems like it has paid off.
DV: Individually you had a great season, even though your team has struggled, what was the highlights for you this past season?
PC: Thank you, it was a tough season but the team was also a great team to be a part of. A highlight of the Super Rugby season was scrumming against some of rugby legends (Woodcock, Beast and a few others).
DV: Having played with a full Springbok front row in your time at the Sharks – was this experience valuable in your growth as a player?
PC: It is always valuable learning from experienced props such as BJ Botha, Deon Carstens, John Smit and Jannie.
DV: Having had the opportunity to play in quite a few stadiums world-wide, which stands out for you as your favourite to play in?
PC: Ellis Park.
DV: The front row is often known as the place with the most grunt. Who has been the most difficult opponent you’ve faced in the front row?
PC: Ben Robinson
DV: What has been the biggest challenge making the step up to being a Springbok?
PC: The biggest challenge is making the team and consistently performing at such a high level. I must say I’m loving every second of being part of this special team.
DV: Thanks so much Pat, you have been a real joy to watch over the season and we wish you best of luck in cementing your place in the Springbok line-up!